The World Economic Forum's flagship event is the invitation-only annual meeting held in Davos, Switzerland, bringing together business leaders, selected politicians, representatives from academia, NGO's, religious leaders and the media in an intimate Alpine environment.
Davos is small enough to allow participants to meet anywhere outside the sessions and allows them the greatest opportunities to attend receptions organized by companies and countries. It's in the context of this sleepy alpine town that representatives from around the world meet and share their ideas on development, economic reform and to highlight opportunities for collaboration going forward.
The WEF describes itself as an independent international organization committed to improving the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic, and other leaders of society to shape global, regional, and industry agendas.
Last year the buzzword in Davos was inequality. And, while many would be skeptical about any real breakthroughs in that area, this year's issues seem spread even wider - reflecting an economically fractured world.
This is probably one of the most exciting Davos gatherings in a long time!— Bruce Whitfield
Geopolitical issues and uncertain economies will be those things keeping Davos 2015 attendees awake at night. The Eurozone region is staring down the very real possibility of deflation, so (once again) it's the American economy that every one seems to be betting on right now.
According to the World Economic Forum's Global Risks Report for 2015 - Interstate Conflict tops the list of risks. Tristan Hanson, Global Head of Asset Allocation at Ashburton Investments
Each year at the start of the year you set out the risks that are prevalent but each year one needs to be prepared to be surprised because as we all know surprised happen, and last year the big one was the conflict between Russia and the Ukraine - and so that is very much front of mind this year— Tristan Hanson, Global Head of Asset Allocation at Ashburton Investments
Another surprise factor to consider is the lower oil price - something not foreseen, but certainly boosting the global economy right now.
A lower oil price is good news for people because it puts money in their pockets rather than paying it at the gasoline pump.— Tristan Hanson, Global Head of Asset Allocation at Ashburton Investments
Hanson is careful to warn people not to expect an ephiphany coming from Davos - no breakthrough headline. But while nothing tangible necessarily comes from the Davos gatherings - it is the meeting of minds on a macro level, the sharing of ideas with the businesses which might fund them - which holds the most promise for that new global context.
Listen to Bruce's interview with Tristan Hanson here -
Be sure to visit the EWN Davos Portal for the latest news and regular updates from World Economic Forum gathering.